1/9/14, 10 PM, NBC
True to the episodes title, “Stay A Little Longer”, tonight’s episode of Parenthood focused on broken relationships where one party is trying to salvage what’s left of it while the other is either trying to break free of said relationship or is trying to maintain it as well, but can’t for one reason or another. We start off at school, where a gaggle of gossiping moms are talking about whether or not Julia had an affair with Ed. Upon seeing the dirty looks and titters, Julia goes up to the ringleader of the group and calls her out on her gossiping. This leads into the biggest development in the saga of Julia and Joel’s crumbling marriage where Julia finally tells Joel everything. That she’s been unhappy since she’s been out of work, that she bonded with Ed over said unhappiness (she calls it a friendship, Joel calls it an “emotional affair”) and that compounded with Victor being held back another grade, it gave Ed the wrong idea and he kissed her. As expected, Joel does not react well to this. This even affects his work as he’s off his game when he and Peet are showing their client the work they’ve done on the houses. And while she does go on the defensive, she tells Joel later on that he needs to get it together and that she couldn’t care what’s going on in his marriage. This leads to one of the most powerful final scenes of any recent episode where after Julia tells him about a list of couples therapists that they can see a.s.a.p, Joel just flat out tells her that he doesn’t like the person she’s become and that he wants out.
The second big development of the episode was with Amber and Ryan. After being surprisingly M.I.A in last week’s episode, we return to them as Ryan comes back to the apartment to get the last of his stuff a half hour earlier than Amber expected. Amber storms out, still angry and frustrated over him re-enlisting and breaking off their engagement. Over at the motel that Ryan is staying at before he drives back to base, Zeek comes over to say his goodbyes and for Ryan to thank Zeek for all that he did for him and for letting him into his family. Zeek then comes over to Amber’s apartment for the first time and tells her that if she doesn’t say goodbye to Ryan, she’ll regret it for the rest of his life. While Amber is justifiably pissed at Zeek for looking like he’s choosing Ryan over his own granddaughter, she relents and gives Ryan a proper goodbye at the motel. And while a final moment with her and Zeek over a bonfire has her saying that she’ll pull through, the “Next time on Parenthood” bumper at the end shows her spiraling out of control, which promises some great stuff from Mae Whitman as well as a welcome return from John Corbett aka Seth, her absentee father.
The rest of the episode is a bit of a mixed bag. We have Sarah going for an interview for a sweet photography job offered by Alec, Carl’s friend who Sarah was introduced to last week. Hank was also up for the same job, but Sarah won out due to her connections as well as her personality. But all is not lost for Hank as Sarah offers him the opportunity to be in on the job as well. This is fine, but I’m still waiting on Sarah to deal with the oncoming car crash that is Amber and I’m more interested in Hank finding out whether or not he has Aspberger’s, which thankfully will be dealt with in next week’s episode. In the most fun plotline of the episode, Oliver Rome decides to come over to Crosby’s and crash at his place as he blows off steam from once again clashing with the band. This leads to him being a terrible influence on Jabbar, with my favorite indiscretion being Oliver showing a ten year old boy “Jaws” for the first time and pointing out John Williams’ iconic score. And while Jasmine right away is against this, she ends up opening up to him about her dancing days and being the voice of reason who is able to get Oliver to admit that he’s afraid of being mediocre and that this album has to be great, since he literally has no other skills to fall back on. And to show his appreciation for the both of them, Oliver actually writes a song called “Jasmine All The Time”— needs work, in my opinion. And finally we get to Adam, who finds out that Max and Micah, his wheel chaired buddy, are no longer friends. They had a falling out over basketball and even though they get Max to apologize to Micah and to invite to a basketball game, the damage is done and Adam and Kristina have to learn that there are things that they can’t help Max out with.
- Best Line of the Episode: “If you’re going to smoke, don’t buy cigarettes. You gotta roll them, just like our forefather’s did.” Oliver Rome’s first bit of sage advice to Jabbar.
- Stray Observations: The barely contained passive-agressiveness of Jasmine in relation to Oliver is the comedic highlight of the episode. I know they’re on good terms by the end of the episode, but I want to see more banter between the two. I also love that Oliver for the most part referred to Jamine as “Mrs. Crosby”.
- The lock of green hair that Amber had during the season so far is gone as of now. Again, symbolism has never been Parenthood’s greatest strength, but it’s a nice touch for those paying attention.
- Credit must be given to David Miller, the show’s cinematographer. While any tv series is hard enough to shoot, it’s even tougher on a show that’s more actor and writer friendly,
which doesn’t usually lend itself to being a show that’s visually dynamic. But the use of wrap focuses within pans during the scene between Max and Hank in the studio was a great visual flair that helped to make that scene more interesting than it would’ve been if shot in a more straightforward manner.
- As involved as Adam and Kristina are with Max, I felt the final scene of them trying to psych Max up with the foam fingers was a bit much. After the heart to heart in the previous act, seeing them so unbelievably dorky undercut it just a bit.